In the House Built By Those That Came Before Me presents a site-specific intervention that considers the history of the Bell Estate, it's repurposing as the Art Gallery of Sudbury, and the forestry industry of Sudbury past and present, as a way of broaching questions on the place of traditional landscape art in contemporary discourse.
A 25' tall pine tree was harvested nearby, selected from the young forest growth that has reappeared locally in recent decades, and an attempt was made to maneuver it in one piece up to the second floor gallery space. Five assistants hauled the tree indoors, flexed the tree around corners and jammed it through narrow doorways. Eventually branches and portions of trunk had to be lopped off to allow it to pass through residentially-scaled doorways and staircases, as there is no freight elevator at the Art Gallery of Sudbury. Whatever remained of the tree by the time it reached Gallery 2 was put on display, accompanied by a 17 minute long video documenting the absurd, laborious action, as well as the negotiation and teamwork required to make it happen. In keeping with the historic mission of the landscape genre (which figures prominently in the AGS collection) “unbridled nature” was denoted here in scaled-down form, edited, made manageable to fit within institutional parameters. Discarded branches and trunk sections sacrificed during transit allude to the omissions of landscape painting, all that which was cut out of Canada's "official art."